Summer in Portland means beer—and logo-emblazoned plastic mugs, and wristbands, and funny hats, and definitely a daytime nap in a shady park corner after one (or five) too many tasters.
That festival season is getting near, and given the sheer number that now crowd the calendar, serious suds fans need to do a little planning. You can’t conquer them all. So do you go yuge? (Easy—that’s the granddaddy of ‘em all, the Oregon Brewers Festival.) Or small? (There’s July’s Puckerfest, 30 rotating taps at Belmont Station, or the Nano Beer Fest, coming right up April 21–22.)
Third option: go wide. With breweries now literally mapping the state, there’s no reason to stick to the Rose City. Might we remind you, the city of Bend is also (but, erm, maybe not quite as?) serious about its beer. You don’t need to take our word for it. Witness the 200-tap lineup for the 2017 Bend Brewfest, which just dropped this past weekend.
Concentrated in the Les Schwab Ampitheater just across the Deschutes River from Bend’s historic Old Mill District, this annual three-day August bender will this year feature 75 participating breweries—everyone from Seal Rock’s tiny Wolf Tree Brewery to Founder’s Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s massive. And it could just be the centerpiece of a height-of-summer high desert road trip.
Click here for all the beers. And here are six that already make our tasting list:
- pFriem: Mexican Lager. Belgium meets the borderlands … así es.
- GoodLife: Pineapple Sweet As. Pacific Sweet As is one of our faves—will it be sweeter still with a little piña?
- Ordnance: Radagast. The Boardman brewery’s Old Craig Strong Ale aged in red wine barrels with an imperial stout back for good measure. Yes, we’re scared.
- Reverend Nat’s: Bodhisattva of Compassion. Because maybe what the world needs now is a strong blend of sour cherry cider and golden russet apples aged in gin barrels.
- Sam Bond’s: Pre-Klassic Kölsch. New Zealand Wakatu hops spice up our favorite summertime style. Waka waka waka!
- Wolf Tree: King of the Forest Oud Bruin. The coastal brewery gives its version of Flanders Brown—a gentle, long-aged sour—a local twist with spruce tips.
Aug 10–12, Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend, $20 (includes mug and five tasting tokens)